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SCEAUX CHINA - 1749- ?

HISTORY. At the instance of one Jacques Chapellea versatile person who, amongst other accomplishments, possessed a knowledge of china-making-a company for the manufacture of porcelain was formed at Sceaux in 1749. The nucleus for this enterprise was a faience factory already well established. Through the good offices of the Duchesse du Maine, Chapelle engaged to secure royal consent for the manufacture of porcelain.

All arrangements had been made down to the least detail, and the work-people engaged were ready to start work, but the expected royal consent failed to materialise. The privileges already granted Vincennes presented one obstacle, and another still more serious was the opposition of Madame de Pompadour. Consequently, for the time being, the new organisation had to be satisfied with making a species of faience called Faience Japonee.

In 1763 the MM. Jacques and Jullien-the same who acquired Mennecy in 1766-took over the establishment and, in 1772, Richard Glot became director, Jacques and Jullien then concentrating all their interests at Mennecy. Although royal consent was lacking, porcelain was undoubtedly made at Sceaux, surreptitiously, perhaps, but none the less certainly, from the time Jacques and Jullien began to manage the works.

The Due de Penthievre, High Admiral of France, became patron of the factory in 1775 and, shielded by his puissant influence, they dared to make porcelain quite openly, although not until 1784, when the VincennesSevres monopoly was somewhat modified, did they obtain the full right to employ polychrome decoration and gilding. Such decoration, however, they had probably made use of long before.

THE BODY. The soft paste body was the same as that of Mennecy, which is quite natural considering the intimate connexion in personnel that existed between the two factories, Jacques and Jullien directing both Sceaux and Mennecy simultaneously for several years.

THE GLAZE. The glaze of Sceaux, likewise, was identical with that of Mennecy.

ARTICLES MADE AND CONTOUR. The articles made at Sceaux were, in general, the same as those made at Mennecy and included all those things incidental to the furnishing of tables, dressing stands and writing tables, as well as divers other accessories for house embellishment. The contours, too, bore a close resemblance to those of the factory with which there were such intimate relations.

TYPES OF DECORATION. As might be expected, under the circumstances, there was an obvious similarity between the methods of decoration employed at Sceaux and those in vogue at Mennecy. There is this to be said, however. The flower and bird designs, which were particularly favourite motifs in both places, were often better conceived and more deftly executed at Sceaux, a fact that gives the Sceaux china a special touch of distinction. During the period when the use of gilding was denied, rims, borders and edges usually displayed a finish of rosecolour,in lieu of gold, the effect of which is very engaging.

THE MARKS.the usual mark shews the letters S X incised in the paste, although many pieces which it is reasonable to attribute to Sceaux show no mark at all.

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